The Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts
In 2016 Lord Thomas, former Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales issued an invitation to his counterparts around the world to come together to create an international forum of commercial courts. Its aim would be to enable the judiciary worldwide to share experiences and discuss subjects of mutual interest. His invitation was accepted by countries with an established commercial court offering and those with a more recent offering. The Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts (SIFoCC) was born.
In May 2017, commercial courts from five continents gathered in London for the inaugural meeting. The attendees were without exception at senior judicial level, including Heads of Commercial Courts. 16 jurisdictions were represented by their Chief Justice. The meeting, as hoped, affirmed the importance and feasibility of cooperation and collaboration between all jurisdictions.
SIFoCC is a world first. It recognises the fact that the number of commercial courts in the world is growing. The strategy strives to avoid a view of the future as simply a competition between jurisdictions, and an approach in which we act simply as a competitor. It exists for three reasons:
- First, because users – that is, business and markets – will be better served if best practice is shared between courts and courts work together to keep pace with rapid commercial change.
- Second, because together courts can make a stronger contribution to the rule of law than they can separately, and through that contribute to stability and prosperity worldwide.
- Third, as a means of supporting developing countries long encouraged by agencies such as the World Bank to enhance their attractiveness to investors by offering effective means for resolving commercial disputes.
- The secretariat for this important body is based in London. You can see reports of meetings, details about membership, updates on the work of SIFoCC and other material online at www.sifocc.org (external link) .
The judiciaries of 45 jurisdictions are now members of SIFoCC. Two thirds of the G20 nations are included, but many smaller jurisdictions too, and from common law and civil law tradition alike. Over the last five years SIFoCC has held full meetings in London, New York, Singapore and Sydney. These comprise a unique roundtable discussion across two days between judicial delegations from member countries. The next full meeting will be in Doha in April 2024.
Recent SIFoCC events in London
March 28 2023: SiFoCC Panel Event hosted by the City of London.
July 2023: Judicial Observation Programme hosted by the Commercial Court.